Does Money Bring You Happiness or Not?

What do you think?

Does money bring happiness?

The answer is so clear to me like the difference between night and day. I have started to question many of the proverbs like, money is root of all evil  or money isn’t everything. I wonder who said these?

It seems like a rummer that someone starts and at the end the message we get has been totally changed.

Why am I saying that? The statement that money isn’t everything is totally true and clear. Money is money and nothing else, like money is not a book or neither a book is money. But you can buy a book and sell a book for money.

It is the value of money that should be talked about, not the physical money itself. So when someone says: “money doesn’t buy happiness” we can say:

 “Money can’t buy happiness, but neither can poverty.” ~Leo Rosten

To prove that money bring happiness, think about these four points.

Point one: Financially, there are 3 groups of people in the world:

1. People who are broke all the time.

2. People who break even  (live paycheck to paycheck)

3. People who have surplus of money.

I promise you that group one and two always try to get to the higher group and group 3 doesn’t want to lose it’s position. Do you agree?

It is very logical, isn’t it?

I know I can concluded that people in group 3 are financially happy to be where they are, but the other two groups are trying to be happier by moving up to another group. It is logical and natural part of life that you would want to move up to higher levels financially from where you are. No one likes or would want to move downwards financially. Ask yourself, which group has less financial stress?

According to a study of 450,000 Americans and how they evaluate their happiness, a salary of $75,000 a year is the magic number after which people’s day-to-day happiness no longer improves. This study was done by psychologist Daniel Kahneman and economist Angus Deaton. From The Wall Street Journal: “It turns out there is a specific dollar number, or income plateau, after which more money has no measurable effect on day-to-day contentment. After that, it is just more stuff, with no gain in happiness. That doesn’t mean wealthy and ultra wealthy are equally happy. More money does boost people’s life as all the way up the income ladder. People who earned $160,000 a year, for instance, reported more overall satisfaction than people earning $120,000, and so on.”

So, according to Wall Street numbers, you won’t be any happier on a day-to-day basis if you’re making $75,000 or $750,000—though you’ll likely feel like you’ve got a better life overall.  See what Arnold said long time ago:

What is another name for satisfaction:

Fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this.

Is it possible for any one not to be happy by fulfillment of wishes. I do not know your answer, but I will take more money to do what I desire and that would make me happy. Look like someone is playing with words, not me I am very honest and I am sure the difference between $75k and $750k is a lot and most people would be happier with $750k.

Don’t know what the true intension of this reacher was, but I don’t agree with it at all and I think it is a sick idea to force a message to people that is not logical and doesn’t make sense. My point is there are so many thing that is myth (another word lies) and we need to find out the truth and wonder who says what?

 Point two: Smallest amount of change can make a difference in people’s life.

Smallest amount of change can make people extremely happy as if they received a million dollars. I used to live in Downtown Los Angles and walk to my work.  You may have heard, downtown Los Angeles is one of the busiest business centers, crowded and traffic is crazy. Each street is some kind of a district. For example you have the garment district, diamond district, flower district, fruit district and the famous Ally which you can buy just about anything in there.

So everyone working to make some money to provide for their family. On my way to work, I would come across people parking in meter parking area but didn’t have coins or small change to put in the parking meter.

I know fine was $25 dollars and no one in the right mind would want to risk not putting 4 quarters and later on pay the $25 fine. I would always carry quarters with me and give it to people that didn’t have change. This is the time that you could see how the smallest amount of change made people so happy specially with not expecting anything in return.

Now, you tell me if one dollar can make someone so happy or not.

Let me give you another example. Have you ever found a dollar in the street? How did it make you feel? It makes me very happy to find a dollar. My point is smallest amount of money can make you happy.

Point three: Lack of money

Below is a list I put together, it shows how lack of money could effect a person. Surly, all of us would want to have enough money not to worry about bills, be able to eat well, spend more time with our family or have money to travel and have fun. I consider lack of money problem and sadness and having enough money a must to live with freedom and a good indicator of happiness. Even as a well paid marketer – thanks Azzurro Blu 🙂 I still suffer from the same financial worries that most of my friends have

Money Lack of money
– financial freedom – not much of freedom
– better schooling – no school or not a quality school
– less family problems due to finance – lots of family problems
– no worries about bills – lot of worries
– no worries about mortgage or rent – lot of worries
– cars are great – maintaining and paying for gas are problems
– eating well – eating cheap and unhealthy
– no worries about old age retirement – big issue for golden years
-vacation, travel and fun – hardly go anywhere
-able to help others – can’t help even though wants to
– being comfortable – not so comfortable

The table above show lack of money and financial freedom. You can decide for yourself which group you want to be in. My answer is clear, I’d like to have money because it gives me financial freedom. Financial freedom gives me the time freedom to do what I want to do on my own terms.

Being in control of your finance is a great stress reliever.

There are other myths about money that I don’t agree with, you can read about them here. Money is root of all evil or is it?

Point 4: Can you be happy without money or live modestly?

My answer is yes, because many famous people in the world have lived a simple life and were very happy and there are a lot of people who live in poverty and they are happy, too.

Here are a few examples about very famous people who lived a simple life and were very happy.

Jean-Paul Sartre was a French philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. Born: June 21, 1905,  Paris Francedied: April 15, 1980,  Paris France. From what I read, all his life he had only a cane, pair of glasses to read and a few clothes. He never bought a mansion or any property which he could have bought. He won the Noble Prize and Refused it.

Here is another example:

Diogenes of Sinope: Greek philosopher who lived in a barrel and did not even own a cup to drink water or had any dishes to eat his food in.

According to legend, Alexander the Great came to visit the Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope. Alexander wanted to fulfill a wish for Diogenes and asked him what he desired. According to the version recounted by Diogenes Laërtius, Diogenes replied “Stand out of my light.”

Diogenes of Sinope believed being happy comes from having less and thinking less about things.

Another example is Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas Gandhi was the preeminent leader of Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Born: October 2, 1869, Assassinated: January 30, 1948. He lived a very simple life and wore a white sheet.

There were and are many people who had it all, but lived very happy without money.

In my opinion these people had access to a lot of money if they wanted to, but they chose to be a role model and said that life is not all about money and happiness comes from within. I agree that happiness can be choice and a mindset, but I am not sure if they didn’t have any access to any money or there were in poverty they would have said that happiness is within since a hungry stomach would not be happy until it is feed.

I think when you have enough money to be comfortable and your primary needs are met like food, shelter and clothes then some people can have a mindset that they don’t have to have much to be happy, but still for most of the people with below average income or below poverty level, money easily could bring a lot of happiness. I am talking about majority of the people in the world not a few ultra rich that say more than what they have would not make them happy.

Traditionally, a nation’s economic health is measured by its wealth. But increasingly, some leaders and policymakers are turning their focus to a more human notion of well-being: happiness.

That’s the motivation behind the World Happiness Report, an analysis published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a UN organization that aims to fight poverty by stoking sustainable development. The annual rankings, first published in 2012, aim to quantify happiness using Gallup World Poll data that asked people to evaluate the quality of their own lives on a scale of zero to 10. Here, based on that metric, are this year’s 25 happiest countries:

Most of the happiest countries you see above are rich countries with higher income average except Costa Rica (#12), Mexico (#14), and Brazil (#16), Venezuela (#23), and Panama (#25).

I have visited Mexico, Panama and I have been living with my wife in Costa Rica. My observation is that a lot of people in these three countries live in poverty and they make the best out of what they have. I am sure if you ask any of these poor people that if having more money will make them happier or not, you’ll find the answer to be, YES.

In Costa Rica minimum wage is about $3 an hour, however cost of food, gasoline, electricity, water are as high as USA and in some cases food items are even higher than USA. People may seem happy but they live on rice and beans.

I have a friend that anytime they invite me to their house, I see that their refrigerator is empty. Many people raise chicken so that once in a while they can have better food.

Some people plant corn and beans in their backyards because it is cheaper and go hunting and fishing (not for fun but because it is all they can afford). Some people in Costa Rica work 12 hours a day, six or even seven days a week with no vacation.

Now, you tell me would money bring these people more happiness or not. My answer is 100% yes.

Conclusion: Does money bring happiness or does it?

It depends who you are asking from. Arnold had 48 million and extra 2 million didn’t make him happier even-though it made him more comfortable and financially secure.

If you ask the most famous people who wanted to make a point that money is not everything (even-though they had access to as much as they wanted to and knew they could get to their money at any given moment) they would say no.

If you ask majority of people in the world who live in poverty and don’t have food, clothes, shelter and opportunity in life, majority would say $1.25 could feed a family of four for a day and money for sure can make four people happy for a day.

I value your opinion so please tell me what you think?